Farah at the Inter Galactic Playground has mentioned Conor Kostick again in a blog entry on an Irish Rennaisance in children’s science fiction. Unfortunately she spells his name wrong again (Kostik).
All the latest news about Conor Kostick, author of the books Epic and Saga.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Monday, July 18, 2005
ReadingMatters is a UK-based site of book reviews for children and teenagers. There is a nice review of Epic including a thoughtfully chosen quotation. There are also a few comments from readers, who interestingly include one from Chester and another from Dublin.
posted at Monday, July 18, 2005
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Tony Hickey is a book reviewer for the Irish weekly current affairs magazine Village. He wrote this nice review of Epic in January 2005:
The epic of the title is a computer conflict game that, in the world where the story is set, has become an instrument of oppression under the rule of the Committee of Central Allocation. Erik, whose parents have become victims of the system, sets out to alter the situation by taking on the computer character of Cindella, a girl thief and a swashbuckler. The resulting narrative is a triumph of control, focus and a truly dazzling writing style that takes us through a world of avatars and ogres, orcs and dwarves, of human concerns and human feelings; a narrative that itself justly deserves the word 'epic'. It succeeds on so many levels without ever resorting to the asininities of allegory but cannot fail to present resemblances to the nascent imperialism of our own world. Yet the book remains first and foremost an attention-grabbing, action tale in the new genre that might be called 'cyber-fiction'. How about this description of Erik’s encounter with the vampire count: “Erik saw thousands of years of bloody existence. Exquisite beauty twisted to serve fouled hunger. Ennui without comprehension, lifted only by the prospect of chasing prey whose corruption and befoulment were sufficiently challenging to offer diversion”
Sherwood Smith is a well known author of fantasy for children and young adults. On her blog she has a note of what she is currently reading. In May 2005 she had some kind words to say about Epic. I can't link to the quote (it's in the middle of a long page) so I'm including the whole thing here:
Epic by Conor Kostick is out from The O'Brien Press in Dublin, so it might be a tad hard to find for us in the States. But what a fabulous read. The premise is not new--kids slipping between a gaming world and their real world of their planet--but how he uses it really is refreshingly new, convincing, and absorbing. The main character, a boy named Erik, designs a girl character to send into the game world. What he learns, what he does, how his family and friends react, how the Committee who control the allocations of goods react, I just couldn't put this novel down. It's one of the best YA novels I've read in a very long while.
Books for Keeps is a comprehensive review magazone for children's books in the UK. Their July issue contains a thoughful review of Epic.
Call your first novel Epic and you run the risk of being thought, at the very least ambitious — not that such a description will carry anything but the most favourable connotations when the book in question is something such as Kostick's. This is a fantasy novel which, while retaining many of the stock elements of the genre (dragon slaying, a magic ring, cataclysmic battles, treasure chests, fearsome weapons, inter alia), moves well beyond these conventional bits and pieces to allow for the incorporation of a challenging intellectual dimension. This, concerned essentially with political systems and the role of violence in such systems may at time prove (especially in the earlier chapters of the novel) rather demanding and dense for younger teenage readers. For them, however, there will be other rewards: there will be the two interlocking parallel worlds of the novel and the cleverly devised ‘Epic’ role-playing computer game which the young Erik Haraldson and friends ultimately attempt to turn to their advantage when opposing the dictatorship of the ‘small self-selected elite’ known as the Central Allocations Committee. We are now ready for epic confrontations, in various senses, and for the vivid portrayal of a society (with some oblique allusions to our own) on the edge of disintegration. ‘Epic’ as one of the committee remarks at one point ‘is a strange game with greater depths, more than perhaps we realise.' Like game, like book: ‘clip on’ as the characters say when play begins, and enjoy!
The World Science Fiction Convention is being help in Glasgow from 4-8 August 2005. Among the participants is our own Conor Kostick. The full schedule is 99 pages long and Conor has seven scheduled appearances, including the following highlights: The Real Middle Ages: Since the time of William Morris, much fantasy has been set in a pre-industrial world of warriors and castles. Why do writers love the Middle Ages? What do the authors leave out, or get wrong? The Second Golden Age of Children's Fantasy (1970-1990): What inspired such a wealth of fantasy writing for young people in this period? What gives these stories lasting appeal for writers, critics and children now? A Discussion of SF and Computer Games: Writing SF based on games, games based on SF and mutual tie-ins from other sources such as films. A Discussion of Harry Potter A Kaffeeklatsch including Connie Willis (winner of six Nebula and Six Hugo Awards, which is more than any other science fiction writer)
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